Mueller: “If We Had Confidence That The President Had NOT Committed A Crime We Would Have Said So”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

For the first time since the conclusion of the Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Donald Trump, Robert Mueller spoke at the Department of Justice about his team’s report.

Mueller reiterated his office’s conclusion was that there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” against the Trump campaign in relation to Russian efforts to interfere with the election.

He also made clear that Trump was not cleared of obstruction of justice by the Special Counsel.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not committed a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime,” Mueller said about the conclusion of the Russia investigation.

He added that he did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice because Department of Justice policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a federal crime. “Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” said Mueller.

GOP Congressman Says Attorney General “Deliberately Misrepresented” Mueller Report

Rep. Justin Amash surprised some folks earlier the month when he became the first Republican in Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan

Rep. Justin Amash surprised some folks earlier the month when he became the first Republican in Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Today, Amash issued a lengthy 25-tweet statement outlining how he views Attorney General William Barr “misrepresented key aspects” of the Special Counsel’s report.

Amash goes on to cite Donald Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and the inability of Robert Mueller to secure a proper interview with Donald Trump as concerning issues in the Special Counsel’s report that Barr seems to have obfuscated.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Mueller Report Released – “Total Exoneration” Would Not Be Accurate

Lots of news this morning about the release of the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump

Lots of news this morning about the release of the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s just a few take-aways from the report.

First up, Mueller made clear in his report that he lacked confidence to clear Donald Trump of obstruction of justice but suggested Congress could take action on at least 10 instances where the president sought to interfere with the probe.

CNN is posting excerpts from the Mueller report.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”

“The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved US-Russian relations.”

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Additionally, the Washington Post reports on Trump’s reaction when he was told the Special Counsel had been appointed:

In May 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had just appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Trump slumped back in his chair, according to notes from Jody Hunt, Sessions’s chief of staff. “Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f—ed,” Trump said. Trump further laid into Sessions for his recusal, saying Sessions had let him down.

“Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency,” Trump said, according to Hunt’s notes. “It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.” The next morning, Trump tweeted, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Plus, as Reuters reports Mueller did find that Russian operatives organized political rallies in support of Trump and opposing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy:

Special counsel Robert Mueller in his highly-anticipated report said his team identified “dozens” of U.S. political rallies organized on social media by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm that was later indicted for attempting to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

According to Mueller’s report, which was released on Thursday, the IRA organized political rallies in the U.S. using social media starting in 2015 and continued to coordinate rallies after the 2016 election.

The IRA, a Russian troll farm with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence agencies, organized pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies on U.S. soil for years, including events in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign put a post on Facebook about one of the IRA-organized rallies in Miami, Fla. in 2016, Mueller noted.

Why Doesn’t Trump Want Report That “Totally Exonerates” Him To Be Released?

Donald Trump tweeted this morning questioning why Congressional Democrats should be allowed to see the report filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump

Now, if you had a report that “totally exonerated” you of any wrongdoing, wouldn’t you want the world to see that?

Donald Trump tweeted this morning questioning why Congressional Democrats should be allowed to see the report filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report, when the crime committed was by Crooked Hillary, the DNC and Dirty Cops? Attorney General Barr will make the decision!”

Trump previously told the press that he wanted the report released to the public.

Now, why had he changed his mind? #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm

Attorney General Will Release Mueller Report “Within A Week”

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on budget matters, Attorney General William P. Barr said he will be releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report within a week.

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on budget matters, Attorney General William P. Barr said he will be releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report within a week.

From the New York Times:

Attorney General William P. Barr said he will deliver the Mueller report to Congress and the public within a week, reiterating his earlier promise to release it by mid-April.

Testifying before lawmakers, Mr. Barr said he would be transparent about redactions in the report. But he demurred when asked whether he has briefed the White House on it.

SNL: Mueller, Barr & Trump ‘Interpret’ Special Counsel Report

In the skit, Mueller - along with Attorney General William Barr (Aidy Bryant) and Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) - played out their separate roles in the release of the report from the Special Counsel.
Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, Aidy Bryant

Robert De Niro returned to SNL in his recurring role as special Counsel Robert Mueller for the show’s cold open last night.

In the skit, Mueller – along with Attorney General William Barr (Aidy Bryant) and Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) – played out their separate roles in the release of the report from the Special Counsel.

From the New York Times:

Each performer offered an introduction at the start of the sketch. De Niro said, “Dear Attorney General Barr, officials from the Justice Department and esteemed members of Congress.”

Bryant said, “Hey, guys, William Barr here. You might want to sit down for this one.”

And Baldwin said, “Guess what? Guess what? Guess what? Daddy is about to freak.”

De Niro: “I am submitting these 380 pages.”

Bryant: “I am writing almost four pages.”

Baldwin: “I am reading zero pages, but Sean Hannity has read it and he was so excited that he texted me an eggplant.”

De Niro: “On the charge of obstruction of justice, we have not drawn a definitive conclusion.”

Bryant: “But I have, and my conclusion is: Trump’s clean as a whistle.”

Baldwin: “Free at last, free at last.”

Watch below.

Trump Adviser, Roger Stone, Arrested On 7 Counts

Roger Stone, a longtime close adviser to Donald Trump, was arrested shortly after 6am this morning at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on multiple charges stemming from the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Roger Stone

Roger Stone, a longtime close adviser to Donald Trump, was arrested shortly after 6am this morning at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on multiple charges stemming from the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

From The New York Times:

In an indictment unsealed on Friday, the special counsel disclosed evidence that a top campaign official in 2016 dispatched Roger J. Stone, a longtime adviser to President Trump, to get information from WikiLeaks about the thousands of hacked Democratic emails. The effort began well after it was widely reported that Russian intelligence operatives were behind the theft, which was part of Moscow’s broad campaign to sabotage the 2016 president election.

The indictment makes no mention of whether Mr. Trump played a role in the coordination, though Mr. Mueller did leave a curious clue about how high in the campaign the effort reached.: A senior campaign official “was directed” by an unnamed person to contact Mr. Stone about additional WikiLeaks releases that might damage the Clinton campaign, according to the court document.

Mr. Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering.

You can read the full indictment here.

A reporter from CNN, David Shortell, had been staking out Stone’s house due to recent activity by the Special Counsel investigation.

According to neighbors, CNN has had a truck out in front of Stone’s house Thursday-Saturday since the midterm elections.

And last week, the investigation was negotiating an appearance by Jerome Corsi’s stepson. His legal team was told to pick a day for grand jury testimony “just not Friday.”

Donald Trump took to Twitter angry that CNN was there to capture the early morning arrest. The Trumpster alleged the Special Counsel’s office had tipped off the media so they could embarrass Stone.

As Stone left his indictment hearing, he struck a Nixon-like pose. Reminding the American people of a disgraced president who lied would seem to be an ‘interesting’ strategy.

Special Counsel Again Requests To Interview Trump On Obstruction Of Justice

Donald Trump

According to ABC News, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested to interview Donald Trump regarding issues pertaining to obstruction of justice.

ABC News reports:

According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm. Negotiations over a potential presidential interview have gone on for months, through several different iterations of the Trump legal team.

You’ll note Trump now says Manafort “worked for me for a very short time.”

When he won the election, he hailed Manafort’s great work.

Here’s the Twitter rant referenced in the ABC News report.

Federal Judge Denies Paul Manafort’s Request To Dismiss Charges Against Him

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

CNN reports that a federal judge has denied former Donald Trump campaign chairman’s request to invalidate the criminal case again him brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort’s legal team argued that the Special Counsel’s orders were too broad and that Mueller had overstepped his legal authority.

But federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller’s investigation and his prosecution of Manafort are legal.

Manafort maintains his innocence to charges related to his work as a lobbyist for Ukrainian politicians.

Special Counsel Confirms Trump Is A Subject Of Investigation

Donald Trump’s attorneys were informed last month that Trump is, indeed, a subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but does not at this time consider The Donald a “criminal target.”

From The Washington Post:

In private negotiations in early March about a possible presidential interview, Mueller described Trump as a subject of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges.

The special counsel also told Trump’s lawyers that he is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.

Mueller reiterated the need to interview Trump — both to understand whether he had any corrupt intent to thwart the Russia investigation and to complete this portion of his probe, the people said.

Apparently, the Trumpster took this as “good news” that he had been vindicated.

Not quite.

As many legal experts have now pointed out, folks can go from “subject” to “target” quickly depending on new information gleaned from incoming evidence.